Why the need for this website?

I run Gyrn Cottage Cattery in Oswestry, North Shropshire. My business has virtually ground to a halt in just a matter of weeks, as have many other businesses all over the country. Many people have suddenly found themselves unemployed. Many others have had to self-isolate for up to 4 months. It is a very scary situation.

Who knew that just one cough could literally stop the world!

I decided that whatever happens I would keep the Cattery open. I have scrapped my Cattery fees and will be operating on a policy of negotiated “pay what you can” for the foreseeable future.

This way I will be able to do my bit to help anyone who needs help with their cat(s).

Thinking about what this pandemic is doing to our country and how it might affect our cats gave me the idea to write the Document “An Impact on the Cat Population of Shropshire – now and in the coming months.”

  • What type of cat owners would be affected?
  • What potential problems could arise?
  • What could be done to solve these problems?

I firmly believe that if we can put procedures in place NOW to help people and their cats then the future impacts of this unprecedented crisis can be lessened or even averted.

Shropshire Cat Network has evolved out of this crisis

This is a website for:

  1. People who love cats.
  2. People who own cats.
  3. People who need help.
  4. People who want to help.
  5. People who hate cats and love wildlife.

It is YOUR website. It is a place where someone who needs help can ask for help and those that can help will offer to help.

We have all ended up in this crazy, surreal situation together. Some people are more vulnerable than others, some are more fortunate.

It is heart-warming to see what people around the country are doing to help and support each other through these truly unprecedented times.

  1. Please read the Document
  2. Think of ways you can help
  3. Don’t be too proud to ask for help
  4. If you know of anyone who needs help tell them about this website
  5. If you are able to help financially your donations will help pay for vaccinations, neutering, providing food, supporting one of the local Rescue Centres.

Thank you!

Cats & Covid-19 in Shropshire

Gyrn Cottage Cattery



  1. Single people who live alone and have no one to care for their cat(s) should an emergency occur. Young or old.
  2. Unemployed – no money to feed the cat, pay for vet fees.
  3. Those made homeless – what will happen to the cat?
  4. Those with not enough money to feed the family or pay bills – what will happen to the cat?


  1. Will someone rather feed the cat and go hungry themselves?
  2. No availability at the Rescue Centres – *Most Rescue Centres are NOT accepting new cats at present.
  3. Is there information available about the cat – name, age, medical history, temperament etc. No information about a cat will put extra strain on any Rescue Centres who will have to pay for vaccinations, possible neutering etc.
  4. Abandoned cats may lead to an increase in the stray cat population.
  5. Are the cats vaccinated? This could potentially lead to the spread of disease through close contact with other cats or fighting leading to extra time spent at Rescue Centres using up scarce resources.
  6. Are the cats neutered? This may lead to a huge increase in the cat population and an increase in the numbers of feral cats. This may have a detrimental effect on the bird and small mammal population.


  1. Set up a website so people can register if they need help or know of someone who does. Have a list of people and places that will offer advice, help and support. Pet shops, Vets, Catteries, volunteers willing to offer transport, foster carer etc.
  2. Identify single people with cats – social media, press, vets, pet shops, word of mouth.
  3. Make NAWTsOpens in a new window ‘Tails of the Unexpected’ packs available to all pet owners. Via downloads from the website, email or printed out for those with no computers.
  4. Designate a Foster carer or named Cattery if a person has no support in an emergency.
  5. Vouchers for free pet food. Funded by supermarkets, pet shops, fundraising? It would be cheaper to supply free cat food to struggling pet owners so they can keep their cats. This will allow Rescue Centres to help those cats in genuine need. We are all facing such uncertainty over the future and stress levels are / will be very high – to have to give up a much-loved part of the family is quite frankly a heartbreaking decision that no one should have to make. This would have a detrimental effect on all members of the family – especially children whose lives have changed drastically with the closure of schools etc.
  6. Offer reduced or free vaccinations and neutering programs. Get veterinary surgeries involved and fundraise.
  7. Cats of people who are self-isolating can be collected by volunteers and taken to the vets.
  8. If the cats are vaccinated then they can be looked after in a Boarding Cattery. There are not enough Isolation spaces available in the Catteries for too many unvaccinated cats who may need looking after.
  9. Have designated Catteries that are willing to operate a “Pay what you can” scheme to help vulnerable people through this crisis. The Government is helping Small Business with grants so it is only right that they help others in return. These buildings are probably sitting there practically empty at the moment.
  10. Ask for volunteers to foster cats in their homes – this could also free up pens in Rescue Centres. It may be that people who are self-isolating or are unemployed for several months may benefit greatly from the companionship. Free cat food and veterinary care can be offered to those short of money. Again, this would be of great benefit to overstretched Rescue Centres and work out a lot cheaper in the long run. It would also be a way that those who wish to help others can do so without putting their health at risk.


If we can put procedures in place NOW to help people and their cats then the future impacts of this unprecedented crisis can be lessened or even averted.

We are a nation of animal lovers and we have shown in the past few weeks that we are a nation of very kind-hearted people who want to help others.

I truly believe that there are enough people out there willing to help in any way they can to see each other through these very difficult times ahead.

This document is about cats, but can equally apply to any type of pet.

  • We don’t want exotic pets like snakes or reptiles etc let loose in the environment, so we should also put procedures in place to help their owners.
  • Dogs – Strays can form packs and pose a danger to humans, pets and livestock.

Written by Samantha Davis, Gyrn Cottage Cattery

Cats in Need

We have All been thrust into a situation that is truly unprecedented. Life as most of us has know it has changed. For how long, who knows!

We can’t afford to dig our heels in and stick to the same old way of doing things. We have to adapt to a constantly changing situation – evolve! Think outside the box!

Even viruses mutate and adapt, but we humans, who are supposed to be the highest form of life, say “NO! I’ve been doing it this way for 20 years, why should I change now?” Mmmm!

So, there could potentially be a BIG problem brewing if the Rescue Centres are full and can no longer accept cats.

Where will they go? Who will look after them? Have they been neutered? Have they been vaccinated? What if they’re elderly? What if they need medical treatment?

If they are abandoned, could it potentially have an impact on the wildlife population?

This picture says it all.

Thank you in advance to | How Many Kittens Can A Cat Have In One Litter! For the loan of your graphic.

This “Cats in Need” page offers possible solutions.

  1. Find people willing to Foster cats – long or short term.
  2. Try and find new forever homes.

Yes, we are on lock down and in the middle of a pandemic but there are ways of achieving this without putting anyone at risk.

If you desperately need to find a home for a cat and someone has offered to foster or even adopt the cat you can:

  1. Chat over the phone or face to face on Skype.
  2. Most people have a laptop or Smart phone – do an online home check and also check the garden.
  3. Look on Google maps and see what the area is like.
  4. If you both feel that this is a suitable match then maybe the cat can be left in the carrier at the door. Strict hygiene protocols in place!
  5. People can keep in regular contact, discuss any possible problems and send video clips and pictures.
  6. If it is a Foster situation then maybe you could offer to pay for the food and any vet bills.

Is that not better than a cat being abandoned and left to fend for itself?

There are very many people in self-isolation at the moment, potentially for up to 4 months. This can be a very stressful and lonely time for a lot of people.

Cats can help manage loneliness and depression by giving us companionship.

If a cat is in desperate need of a temporary Foster home or even a Forever home and a person is in desperate need of companionship and the need to feel they are doing their bit to help during this crisis we are all facing – this is perfect!

Seems like a great solution to a potential problem!

Shropshire Cat Network
Cats looking for homes…